A Complete Corridor on 15th St
Level of Effort: 30 minutes, at home in your PJs
Virtual Meeting: Wed 12/1 @ 7pm
We've been closely following and providing feedback on the Pentagon City Planning study for more than a year and there's a lot to like in the most recent draft: new pedestrian corridors filled with lush greenery called "green ribbons", protected bike lanes on Joyce Street, Hayes Street and Fern Street, new pedestrian connections to break up the very large blocks in the area, etc.
One critical piece that is still missing from the plan, though, is a complete low-stress east-west bike connection. A complete, low-stress east-west corridor for people on bikes connecting Pentagon City and Crystal City is critical to achieving the growth envisioned in the Pentagon City plan without creating massive traffic headaches to go with it. 12th Street will be dedicated primarily to transit, having no bike facilities. 15th Street and 18th Street are the only remaining options that cross Route 1 and 18th Street has the fairly new Crystal City Multimodal Center and its massive bike/bus conflicts that are unlikely to go anywhere anytime soon. That leaves 15th Street as our only option for a low-stress east-west bike connection that creates a connected network.
While the plan calls for "separated bike facilities throughout the study area" on 15th Street on page 71, it specifies that there are "known constraints in some areas" and then on the map on page 87 (shown above), leaves a full block and half of 15th Street with its existing unprotected, high-stress, paint-only bike lanes. Like a chain, a low-stress bike network is only as strong as its weakest link. That block and half would be a cripplingly weak link in our low-stress bike network which would leave Pentagon City disconnected from Crystal City.
You could make a HUGE difference here, by providing brief public comments at Wednesday's Planning Commission virtual meeting via Microsoft Teams. The Pentagon City Plan is the only item on the agenda. There will be a presentation by staff, and then public comment will be accepted on the item. You can sign up here to provide comments at the 7pm virtual meeting. Sign-ups must be received by 4pm on the day of the meeting (12/1).
If you can't comment at the virtual meeting, you can also provide written comments, though these aren't as effective. Provide written comments here. Comments received by 2pm the day of the meeting will be distributed to commission members in advance of the meeting.
The Pentagon City Plan has a lot of great elements, but sorely needs a complete, low-stress corridor for people on bikes along 15th Street. 12th, 15th and 18th Street Streets are the only connections across Route 1 to Crystal City. This plan envisions no bike facilities on 12th Street and 18th Street suffers from massive bus/bike conflict at the Crystal City Multimodal Center under Route 1. 15th Street is our only opportunity to have a complete low-stress facility for people on bikes connecting Pentagon City to Crystal City but the Potential Bike Network map leaves a 1 to 1 1/2 block gap of high-stress, frequently blocked, paint-only bike lanes. It will requires some trade-offs. It will probably require a capital project and we'll lose some street parking. But it is important and we need to make it happen, especially if we want the vast majority of trips in Pentagon City to happen without a car.